but will continue here: Romania for Export Only BLOG

President Basescu at the European Commission, 22 April 2010

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Disappearance of newborn babies for illegal adoption in Europe

The trafficking of babies from the Ukraine was already a fact in 1995. Ten years later, in 2005, the Council of Europe requested an investigation to clarify if babies were still declared stillborn, but in reality sold for adoption.

The fact-finding mission of Ms. Ms Ruth-Gaby Vermot-Mangold brought heart-breaking stories and confirmed all suspicion.

In a recent interview Ms. Vermot-Mangold gives harrowing examples of how mothers were fooled by doctors and made to believe their babies were stillborn. She believes it likely that those children ended up for intercountry adoptions, as this market exists since long,

Her investigations in Moldova showed different practices: strong pressures is put on poor and/or single mothers to leave their child in an orphanage, most likely for reasons of intercountry adoption as mothers who later reclaim their child do that in vain. Also newspaper advertisements can be found in Moldova, in which women are incited to sell their babies for 3.000 euros.

Ms. Vermot-Mangold goes on to say that trafficking in babies also exists in Bulgaria, but that Romania is at the moment less concerned as it has banned intercountry adoptions.

This is an important conclusion, as it is indeed the existing adoption market that triggers the sale of children. Before Romania closed intercountry adoptions the same issues as in Ukraine, Moldova existed: babies declared dead at birth, mothers incited to abandon children.

However, Ms. Vermot-Mangold is not of the opinion that a ban on adoptions is appropriate, without saying why not, but that stricter rules are needed and that adoptions need to be done through adoption agencies which strictly control the procedure.

However, those who read Romania for Export Only know that adoption agencies are part of the problem, not the solution.

But now the most amazing part.

On 24 January the Council of Europe’s General Assemblee discussed Ms. Vermot-Mangold’s findings and presented a draft Recommendation ‘Disappearance of newborn babies for illegal adoption in Europe’.

Read the mind-boggling press release in which the Council of Europe announces their view on how to prevent the sale of children:

By stricter rules, in particular for post adoption monitoring...
but that’s not where the problem exists: it is how children are 'freed' for adoption where things go very wrong.

And what about the press release's catchy title? Stricter rules, no:

Assembly calls for easing of adoption rules

Friday, 11 January 2008

Pien Bos - relinquisment by Indian unmarried mothers

The Dutch Antropologist Pien Bos' PhD research project was yesterday rewarded with a CUM LAUDE. Her findings can be read in 'Once a Mother'. I was present during this event and must say I was deeply impressed.

Bos researched the motivation of Indian unmarried mothers to relinquish their children for adoption.Her conclusion is that Indian women who relinquish their children are not well informed. They often relinquish their children because they find themselves in an environment where adoption is considered the best, if not the only solution. Often they feel they relinquish the care of the child, but not the child itself. The cultural significance of the blood bond between a mother and her child, in combination with the cultural meaning of the notion mother, implies that motherhood is not transferable.
Pien Bos argues that these mothers should be better informed about the possibilities to keep their children.

Crucial is the role of the NGOs. Pien Bos interviewed 36 mothers in different mother and child homes in Chennai. The NGOs running these mother and child homes also have another role: placing children for adoption (in foreign countries, but more and more within in India). For adopted children these NGOs receive money, and this is, says Bos, where the situation becomes problematic. Staying in these mother and child homes is a like a trap, rarely unmarried mothers can leave with their children.

Pien Bos lived for two years in India and her interviews with the Indian mothers give a great but disturbing insight in the lack of freedom of those mothers. And the question remains if in such an ambiguous situation, children should be placed for adoption.

A must read.

The book can be ordered at - 15,00 Euros

Sunday, 6 January 2008

India's exploitation of the womb

FromJudith Warner's Blog:

‘Because what’s going on in India – where surrogacy is estimated now to be a $445-million-a-year business — feels like a step toward the kind of insane dehumanization that filled the dystopic fantasies of Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” and Margaret Atwood’s “Handmaid’s Tale.” (One “medical tourism” website,, refers to the Indian surrogate mother as a mere “host.”) Images of pregnant women lying in rows, or sitting lined up, belly after belly, for medical exams look like industrial outsourcing pushed to a nightmarish extreme.’

Judith Warner's excellent critical analysis brought back my Romanian experience. In my book you can find examples of these practices too.

For example, how I visited a Bucharest maternity clinic end 2000 where abandoned babies were kept for intercountry adoption in a backroom, while just next door a luxurious fertility clinic was offering IFV for Romanian nationals. I could only wonder why those Romanians could not adopt the babies next door.

In January 2005 that same fertility clinic made international headlines as a 66-year- old woman had given birth after IVF treatment, the oldest mother in the world.

But the most striking was Romania’s trade in human egg cells which came out in April 2005. A US/Israeli company was harvesting the eggs of students for a financial ‘compensation’. These eggs could be ordered via the Internet, and shipped to New York or London for fertilisation. The European Parliament had adopted a resolution to call for the European Commission’s full investigation of this.

In ‘Romania-For Export Only’ I mentioned this as a side issue and did not enter into much detail.

However, let me now give the details.

The Romanian trade in human eggs was done by GLOBAL ART USA (ART = Artificial Reproduction Technology), run by Dr. Sanford Rosenberg (USA) and Dr. Ilya Barr (Israel) .

I don’t think the Romanian branch of Global Art still exists. After all, Romania is now a member of the European Union, where such practices are not allowed. So, they relocated outside the EU, to Ukraine, as can be read in this article The misery behind the baby trade.

Years ago I saw a TV programme about the Italian fertility doctor Severino Antinori in which he announced his intention to use Indian women to breed children for Italian couples, with eggs and gamete from Italy.

It is not unlikely that now or in future eggs harvested by companies like Global Art will be bred by Indian women, or women in other countries with weak regulation.

Just imagine the children looking for their roots…

And I wonder, is this the world we want to live in???

Thursday, 3 January 2008

US research on Romanian 'orphans'

Orphanages Stunt Mental Growth, a Study Finds

Again the US research on Romanian 'orphans' is in the news, as end of last year it's findings were published in Science.

The researchers now argue that this research was meant to promote foster care and was at the basis of Romania's child protection reform.

Helas, the reality is much more complex and troubling.

This reseach, by 4 American Universities and SERA Romania, was done at a time when the Romanian reform was already well underway.

As part of the priority to close babyhomes, the Romanian government had plans to close this 'orphanage' which had been serving as shopping window for intercountry adoptions. But this closure was delayed many years - most probably because the research needed first to be finalised.

The randomly selected children who served as guinea pigs had to remain institutionalised throughout the study.

This project came under heavy criticism in Romania, whereby the US side denied that their research had anything to do with intercountry adoption:

However, the below article clearly shows it was about intercountry adoption:

I personally visited this research project in June 2001 and those interested in the full story can find a detailed reporting of this in my book.

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